October 7th, 2016
Kashmir Reader Newspaper Publication Banned By Govt.
The Government of Jammu & Kashmir came under heavy international criticism for ordering a ban on all newspapers in the valley for three days in July. Eventually, it decided not to enforce the ban.
However, by an order dated 30.09.2016(30th September), the District Magistrate of Srinagar directed the Printer, Publisher and Owner of the ‘Kashmir Reader’ a narrowly circulated newspaper to abstain from publishing it. The first para of the DM’s order reads, “Whereas on the basis of credible inputs it has been observed that that the daily News Paper namely Kashmir Reader published within the territorial jurisdiction of District Srinagar contains such material and content which tends to incite acts of violence and disturb public peace and tranquillity.”
The move of the government came under heavy attack with journalists of the state taking out a protest march to condemn this step of the government. It was pointed out by them that no specific allegations were made against the newspaper and that the daily was being victimised as a face-saving measure. Though the order stated “such material and content which tends to incite acts of violence and disturb public peace and tranquillity”, it did not specify as to which material and content had the potential to disturb peace and tranquillity. Moreover, given the small number of subscribers of the Kashmir Reader it is highly unlikely that it could have caused much trouble with its limited reach.
The government clarified that the step came only after the newspaper was served with a notice to explain a series of articles which, according to some “agencies” contributed to the unrest since the death of Burhan Wani in July. However, the stakeholders of Kashmir Reader denied being served with any such notice. Critics also pointed out that if the matter was so serious then the police would have delivered the order the day it was prepared and dated and not 3 days later on 02.10.2016(2nd October).
Earlier in July, the Indian Journalists Union had issued a statement saying, “The J&K Police action in the name of volatile situation in the Valley is an attack on the freedom of the media and unacceptable in a democracy”. About 100 people have lost their lives, 700 youths blinded and more than 10,000 have been injured in the ongoing protests which have been continuing for 90 days now.
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